Building a Sustainable Future: Why Collaboration is Key to Combat Climate Change
Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer
The Government’s recent energy day policy announcements brought different strands of policymaking together: investments in renewable energy, infrastructure, and energy efficiency. Now is the moment to work in partnership with industry to effectively implement public policy for the benefit of everyone in the UK, and around the world.
At IKEA, we recognise the very real impacts of the climate emergency on people and communities, and the role for businesses in leading the way to help tackle these problems and work with Government to design and implement solutions.
Recently the UK Government published Powering Up Britain, alongside many other updates to policies, covering everything from floating offshore wind pilots, to encouraging the wider installation of home heat pumps.
New or old policy, the ambition that underlines all of the enthusiasm can be approached more holistically. The energy transition needs to be affordable and accessible for households across the country. This must begin with greater cross-Government collaboration; for example, the success of a mass-scale rollout of EV infrastructure is contingent on planning reforms unlocking the opportunities, not maintaining barriers. The Climate Change Committee’s report also reinforced this last month.
The Great British Insulation Scheme is a step in the right direction towards achieving Net Zero, providing support for households to improve the country’s housing stock and bring down energy bills in the long term, whilst also making it easier for the country to join the energy transition. But we cannot ignore the missed opportunity to require housebuilders to install solar rooftops on new housing developments and ensure our housing stock is more resilient and sustainable.
Solar energy is a reliable, renewable source of energy that reduces carbon emissions and promotes sustainable living. It would also help revive an already struggling sector in the UK by increasing demand for solar technology and encouraging investment into the industry.
Resource efficiency – or circularity – is another crucial area that requires greater attention. While the Government has made some progress with waste packaging reforms, more ambitious and broader plans for the Circular Economy are required. We need to accelerate the move away from a traditional linear model of tackling waste. By doing so, we can work towards reducing emissions, while creating new jobs and industries, reducing our reliance on imports and deliver resource security.
At IKEA, we continue to promote sustainable choices as part of our work to become a fully circular business. We recently launched our circular hubs online, to further reduce waste and give our products a second and third life by increasing customers’ access to second-hand and nearly new furniture with advice on how to maintain, repair, clean and personalise their products. Through these hubs, IKEA have provided 560,766 spare parts to UK customers– a combined cost saving of approximately £700,000 for customers who did not need to buy new.
We have also introduced next-level technology, Eco-pilot, in select locations across the UK, which works to reduce the energy consumption of our stores, without compromising the customer experience. The solution improves the indoor climate by boosting energy storage capacity and optimising internal heat sources, resulting in energy savings of 20% to 40. Our ambition remains for all IKEA stores to fit Eco-pilot by the end of 2023.
Businesses across the country are designing innovative solutions to reduce energy usage – as well as exploring sustainable transport, circularity, and supporting our natural environment and biodiversity. Our national and local policymakers can work with us to scale up our response to climate change.
The challenges we face are significant, but by working together, we can protect our planet and secure a better future for generations to come. We must recognise the need for decisive action and leadership to ensure that we achieve net-zero, and we call upon the Government and industry to take up this challenge.
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